Horseless Carriage Archive

When the car began replacing the horse, pessimists  didn’t treat it like a great new tool. They called it “the devil wagon,” and said its mission was to destroy the world. Here are our favourite examples of this paranoia. Be sure to check out this episode of the podcast where we explore why the horseless carriage was so scary—and what it took to to finally put horse-lovers behind a wheel.

Bar Autoists From Office

Jersey Legislative Candidates Must Show They Never Rode in ‘Em.

The anti-automobile movement that developed a few days ago in the organization of the Anti-Mobile Association of North Branch seems likely to spread throughout New Jersey.


The Automobile Terror

Though the newspapers chronicle accidents and fatalities resulting from the automobile craze. they do not begin to touch upon the real terrorism of this fad. Country and city alike are its victims.

The only way to deal with them is to arrest every offending specimen of this arrogant and reckless gentry that the officers of the law can reach, and fine them to the limit.


The Automobile Brain

A debate recently took place in Paris between a brain specialist and an eminent physician as to the effect highspeed auto racing had upon the brain. There was a marked disparity in the views set forth, and this has led to much discussion on the subject.

The brain specialist predicted that motor maniacs will be represented in the insane asylums in the near future…


Was Henry Ford Crazy?

The Spokesman-Review | September 22nd. 1929

Henry Ford drove what commonly was referred to as a “contraption” about the streets of Detroit in the ’90s and received the jeers and criticisms of his fellow citizens. Some called him “crazy”, while others, more tolerant perhaps, said he was a “dreamer”.

Up to that time the great majority of Ford’s fellow citizens were convinced that as a transportation factor the automobile was of little consequence.


The Devilish Devil Wagon

The automobile has been charged with almost every offense imaginable. Most of the queer complaints about the machine come from Long Island. Garden truck farmers there recently claimed that the dust raised by fast motor cars was spoiling their vegetables…

Now the clam diggers of Little Neck Bay say that the rains have washed the oil sprinkled on the road to prevent the dust from automobiles down into the water, and into the stomachs of the clams which have made the bay famous, rendering them unpalatable. The clams seem to relish the flavor of the oil, but the people who eat them don’t.

Livery Stables are Relics of Past Now

All Because the Young People Say a Good Time Must be Seasoned With Gasoline and Speed.

F ew young men of this day have the same idea of a good time as had the young “sports” of a generation ago. They fail to see any pleasure in dressing up on Saturday or on a weeknight, hiring the best rubber-tired buggy in the stable and, and taking the lady of their affections for a drive about town. The movie show and the automobile have brought an end to the custom.


Can’t Stop Progress

Dundee Evening Telegraph | November 18th, 1895

Allow me to say that those in authority in our city might as well try to beat back the waves of the sea with a broom as to stem the tide of horseless carriages, which are looming in the distance. They are surely coming, and ere long they will be running in thousands along our streets.



Motorists and Their Manners Mostly Bad

Blame for all sorts of evils has been laid upon the defenseless motorcar–the degeneration of the young folk, their drinking and “petting”, the middle-aged tendency toward dyspepsia and obesity, the success of bootlegging and the neurasthenia of modern people–but one of the most deplorable results of the automobile habit is the disappearance of the comradely spirit between travellers.


Stanford Bans Automobiles

It was only recently that the President of Stanford University read a warning in chapel to all student owners of motor cars and told them that they must take them away at once, as he regarded the automobile to be the creator of invidious distinctions and a waste of time.


Pastor Denounces Auto

Calls Them a Menace to the Curch and the Country’s Financial Integrity.

Many people, he said, who were regular attendants at divine service before the advent of the automobile have become so absorbed in their machines that they spend their whole time on Sundays enjoying their pleasures and devoting no time to the church. He said the renzied desire of those not able to afford to possess automobiles is leading them to financial excess.


The Horse Holds its Own

Freeport Journal-Standard | May 5th, 1900

Despite Modern Invention the Horseless Age Seems Still Far Distant.

That a horseless age is at hand has been the cry for several years both in America and Europe… But as yet the cry is not justified by the facts. It is true that electricity is rapidly monopolizing the urban transportation of passengers, and that pleasure carriages moved by motors are every day becoming more popular, but nevertheless the horseless age is still a long way in the future.


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